We’re sneaking up on Basketball Season! As with the last two seasons, we’re going to preview the team player by player. While we normally do these alphabetically, Aaron Craft will come a little later because Eric is a horrible slacker.
The loss of several stars to early entry into the NBA draft before last season made recruiting little tougher for Thad Matta. The scholarships have dwindled for the 2012-2013 season leaving just one open spot for a new-comer. Amedeo Della Valle had the honor of being the lone newbie scholarship player for that team.
Over the last few years the Bucks have lost the likes of Jon Diebler and William Buford. This has left Matta searching for someone to step in to fill the scoring void in the Buckeyes’ lineup. Amadeo Della Valle (ADV for short, or as we bloggers prefer “Floppy Haired Mayhem” – “FHM” for short) was just the guy they were looking for to fill the gap. While he didn’t see incredible quantities of playing time with the talent in front of him, Buckeye Nation did get to see flashes of what he might become.
Hometown: Alba, Italy
High School: Findlay Prep (Las Vegas)
Position: Guard (2,1)
ADV comes from a basketball background. His father, Carlo, played 15 years as a pro basketball player. His father never pushed ADV to become a basketball player which, in my opinion, was the best move Carlo could have made. Carlo allowed ADV to play soccer and basketball both and always told him to “play what you like”.
At the age of 10 Carlo began to coach ADV and then introduced him to Alberto Bogliatto. Bogliatto coached ADV for the next four years before he moved on to the Italian U18 National team. Injuries delayed his debut with the U18 but he finally got his chance in the European Championships in Poland where he scored 90 points in the first four games but another injury cut his tournament short.
ADV decided to put his professional dreams aside and move to the United States to play for Findlay Prep in 2011-2012. Findlay Prep was one of the best moves of his career because this allowed him to play with the players that complimented his talents and allowed him to grow as a player.
It is reported that he shot OVER 50% from three point land and this alone brought ADV into the spotlight for college recruits. Despite only being a three-star recruit, ADV landed offers from Arizona, Gonzaga, Texas A&M, TTUN, and Ohio State. He only made visits to A&M and OSU. Four days after his visit to OSU he committed to be a Buckeye.
ADV became a fan favorite pretty quickly in his first season as a Buckeye. Garnering the nickname Floppy Haired Mayhem, for obvious reasons, he took to the court in radical fashion and was not bashful. He played in 15 games as a true freshman and was 12-32 from the field and of those was 10-26 from three-point range while contributing 4-8 from the charity stripe.
His stat-line from last year is fairly pedestrian, but that’s not terribly surprising considering the role he played. His three point shooting numbers show a hint of what could be if he works hard.
Here’s some film from last season’s OSU/Kansas City game in November. Buckeye Nation got some quality FHM time at the end of the first half.
He did not see a lot of time during conference play and his numbers dropped a bit during that span. However he is expected to step in and contribute greatly in his upcoming sophomore season.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Strengths – Three point shooting. Ball distribution. Defense.
Weakness – Floor awareness? Scoring versatility?
There is no question what ADV brings to the court for the Buckeyes. He is a three point shooting specialist first and foremost. It was surprising last season if he didn’t look for an available outside shot, and his teammates (particularly Craft) seemed to look for him at the perimeter when he was on the floor. It suggests that his shooting stroke has already earned the trust of his teammates.
Surprisingly, we learned that with the Mayhem that comes from his hair being floppy, and the mayhem of his perimeter shot, he also causes mayhem with his floor awareness. In the video above, he does a great job of floating the ball to Shannon Scott to get the rock ahead of the defense on the fast break. That was a great awareness play that other young players may have slowed and reset the offense instead.
He’s also demonstrated some decent chops on defense, which is a requirement for any player in a Matta coached team to see the floor. There were, of course, a few times that ADV lost the thread of the defense, or was schooled by his man. These are typical for a young player and are something for him to work on in the future.
Lastly, his size can be a great asset. With Craft only being 6-2, ADV can be a HUGE asset to the Bucks guard play against Big Ten foes. TTUN, Indiana, and Michigan State all have guards that are listed 6-5 or taller. Combine his height with Craft’s ability to smother people on defense and this could mean lights out to the competition.
The only weakness that I can see at this point is the fact that ADV has a history of injuries. In his time in Italy he missed significant playing time due to leg and back injuries. He didn’t seem to have any major problems two years ago at Findlay Prep, nor last season at OSU (in limited playing time) and I would tend to think that a college strength and conditioning program will do wonders for a growing boy!
In Europe and in High School Della Valle played the point guard position proficiently. With the depth Ohio State possession at the 1, and considering his shooting abilities, it seems reasonable to project him to play the 2 with the Buckeyes. Add to that his nose for getting the ball to a player down the court, as is obvious from the video above, add you’ll have a pretty well rounded player that could work in tandem with Craft and Scott in the backcourt.
ADV will see a considerable jump in his playing time this season and will most definitely be the spark off the bench this team needs. I predict that he will compete at a high level and contend for 6th man this season.